All too often, we only hear tales of addiction that end in tragedy. But in fact, these cases are outnumbered by continued life stories of those who have fought their addictions and won. It’s an incredibly brave, strong and powerful accomplishment that needs to be celebrated more often, to shine a light for those who want to follow in the same footsteps.
Addiction recovery requires change – and that’s what these people did. We’ve summarized the journeys of 4 high profile people who have beaten addiction with professional help and by changing their lifestyle, and have gone on to live thriving, happy, fulfilled lives.
World-famous author of The Shining Stephen King’s life was consumed by drugs and alcohol throughout the 1980s – so much so that he attests to not remembering writing some of his most famous works.
He was reportedly dependent primarily on cocaine and beer, and even took to gargling antiseptic mouthwash for its alcohol content in public when it wasn’t acceptable to be seen consuming harder substances.
He eventually got clean when his wife threatened to leave him. She supported him through the writer’s block he felt came with sobriety, until he could write again without the aid of drugs. He has gone on to produce over 60 successful works, many of which have been adapted into wildly successful Hollywood films and TV shows.
Hollywood darling Drew Barrymore started smoking marijuana at 10 years old, developed a drinking problem at 11, and was cocaine addicted at 12 – yes, really. Her story is so ridiculous that if it were a movie script it would be instantly dismissed as completely unbelievable. Yet, this was Drew’s reality; and it’s frankly a miracle that she grew up to be the strong woman she is.
She now epitomizes ‘sensible mom’ as well as cool actress. She shot to fame as a child actress aged 7, playing sweet little Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s ET. At the age of 9 her parents divorced, and her mom would take her along to nightclubs several nights a week. She was sent to an institution for the mentally ill by her mom at 13, and the doctors there recommended that she was better off not returning to her family when she got out.
Drew was declared a legal adult at 14 and went it alone from there. Her incredible story shows that it’s possible for anyone of any age to bounce back from addiction, abuse and trauma.
Multi-talented former Disney Channel star and singer Demi has confessed that at just 17 years old she couldn’t go an hour without cocaine; which led to her smuggling the illegal substance onto planes. She has also spoken about her drinking problems and a host of mental health issues.
She entered treatment at 18, living at a ‘sober house’ in LA, and has been clean from drugs and alcohol since 2011. She has released 6 albums to date and regularly appears as a judge and presenter for hit TV shows like the US version of The X Factor.
Legendary rapper Eminem became addicted to painkillers like Vicodin and Valium to help him sleep after developing insomnia. Eventually his addiction caused him to gain excess weight – the drugs gave him stomach problems which he found was only soothed by eating tons of food. During his recovery period, he started exercising and found it gave him the same ‘high’ that drugs did.
He released a series of albums about his addictions including 2009’s Relapse and 2010’s Recovery. Eminem sought the help of an addiction counsellor to get clean after an overdose of methadone in 2007. It’s reported that Elton John was a mentor for him during that period, calling him at least once a week to check on his progress.
He has now just released his ninth studio album Revival and has now been clean for a number of years, citing exercise as a positive change in his addiction battle.